︎ Aimen R-M  ◠‿◠✿

Part 1

Lots of people I know have lost loved ones in this shit season of Earth 2021: Pandemic Reloaded. We’re going through some sense of loss for our old lives. I’ve seen the term ‘collective grief’ floating around. In late 2020 I heavily identified with it and found myself complaining (ironically…to Maxy) about how sad I was at the possibly permanent loss of nightlife and live music.

Well. When real grief hit, let me tell you the ~ collective grief of not being able to go to restaurants, or the club paled in comparison. Losing Max feels permanent, cruel and relentless. It’s the kind of experience that really makes you feel like one iota of stardust in a vast universe. Not in the best way.

Anyway. I don’t want to make an in memoriam post.

I feel like Max is too vast a presence to be condensed into one-off remembrances. Parsuite, j’ecris part 1.

——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——

2017 was a pretty difficult year personally. Max visited London to see my sister, at the *peak* of my 21 year old angst, and his visit was full throttle joy and happiness.

I’m shy and painfully awkward – I mouth breathe and I’m kinda stressed about eating in public so hanging out with new people can be weird. I felt zero awkwardness with Max. My sister and I speak in our own strange language of surrealist ethnic internet jargon and Max just got it straight away – no explanations needed.

Many highlights: taking him to Nando’s, our pre-flight Sainsbury’s run that was basically a game of Supermarket Sweep: Flight Snacks. Going on a double decker bus. Asking for his social security number. Sitting on a sticky black leather couch in a really downtempo (kinda garage band??) bar and squeezing all of us in for our only photo of the trip, because we honestly never stopped living in the moment.

——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚˚☽˚⁀— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——

2020: Year of the Reunion. I have never in my life laughed so hard before. The night Max was due to meet up with my sister, my husband and I were winding down for a fun night at home. I thought I’d see them two at the weekend and catch up, and I wasn’t sure what Max would be like cuz we hadn’t seen each other for years at this point.

They rang us early because they’d hired a manual car and Max only drove auto, so my sister was like “Can y’all come teach us to drive a manual vehicle”. Michael and I couldn’t stop laughing – Max and Anoshe were literally looking up YouTube lessons on driving a manual, and when we got there they’d managed to get from KX to…the next street over…still in KX. Surrounded by some very amused youths. It loses so much in translation but this saga was probably the most we’d laughed in 2020. Again, when we met up there was no awkwardness, just cackle and love. The auto manual mixup was such a classic youth blooper, which just made it sweeter and funnier. I’m so grateful to Michael for that drive we all got to enjoy.

We managed to squeeze in one dinner for the four of us. Max gave Picantés his seal of approval, mans got taste.

——- * ❃·゚: *✧·゚˚☁˚⁀— *:·゚❃:·゚✧ ——

This is the most painful collection of memories.

Max was in my home the 29th of Dec (lockdown purists chill it was for a minute – we needed extra coats so we could hang out in the streets). I showed him my new KORG midi controller and he stood right in front of my (redundant) second TV stand. In the same place I sat for his vigil.

Kensington’s been my happy place since I moved to London, and the tail end of HSK is where we laughed and talked for ages cause we couldn’t properly hang out. Portlands on HSK has like the second largest collection of Arizona iced tea flavors in London, we hung out by there for a while.

The Xmas Eve last minute grocery run for Max and Anoshe was probably the most fun I’ve had shopping for chicken (they had kebab for Xmas dinner though…smh). We hung out with Max and Davon outside Burger King for ages in 1 degree weather. Lit.

We were meant to work on our collab piece but didn’t get to. At this stage the UK government’s coronavirus strategy was heavily inspired by the chorus of Unlock It by Charli XCX (“Lock it lock it, unlock it, lock it lock it”) – we were thrown into Tier 4 pretty last minute.

——- * ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —— *:·゚✧*:·゚✧ ——

Friday 15th Jan, I was finishing up the artwork for a lead single off of the compilation album Max was working on. We were really inspired by similarly chaotic, vibrant art and music at this point. I sent him my final draft at like 12:21AM UK time, and he really liked it. His last text to me was 04:30 AM UK time telling me he loved it and would ask Lucas to finalize. We’re now working on releasing the album in his honor, I know he wanted it out by March. 

I don’t really remember much of the next few days. I know my friends were kinder than I could’ve imagined and they took care of me. I know I was there for my sister when I needed to be, but I’ll never know if I did enough.

Maximus meant more than a brother in law. He’s a true friend and we really were on the same wavelength. He’s my little big brother – he’s always been a huge vibrant presence.

—-* ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* —☁* ✧·゚: *✧·゚:* ——-

I don’t always remember – so it’s a jolt when I realize. Even now, I find something funny that I know only he will cackle at in the same way. And I’m about to text him because I forget.

The love Max had for Anoshe, his family and his friends is palpable. I see my golden friend’s loving nature in everything: his Mothman sweater he gave me, his technical review of Tempest, the smiles we have in photos, voice notes and memes.

Sometimes I’m in the grocery store feeling like I’m forgetting something or like we need to do something urgently. It’s difficult to realize there’s nothing urgent to do. SOPHIE’s passing amplified the senseless loss of Max’s potential. I don’t have any poignant commentary on grief. It was difficult. After SOPHIE, it got harder. It never really goes away – as Michael said it just becomes less urgent in the moment.

Sometimes I’m mid conversation at work or with people I love and I remember something hilarious he said. And I have to hold back the laughter. More so because they’re usually inside jokes with dark humor others probably won’t get. Those are my favorite moments. It was an honor to share this realm with him.

Me and Anoshe laugh at things we really shouldn’t even now. We made jokes that are probably not in great taste or intelligible to everyone he knew. Initially we didn’t know how to feel about being able to laugh, but then we found this text from Maxy saying “Please joke about me when I die. Not like mean stuff, but laugh”.